Early voting numbers in 2018 primary behind figures for 2014 primary
During the first two days of the early voting period for the 2018 primary, the number of Beaufort County voters who marked ballots is less than the number of voters who voted in the first two days of the 2014 primary.
The early voting period started Thursday. As of Friday, 341 voters had marked ballots. On Thursday, 191 voters marked ballots, followed by 150 voters Friday. The early voting period for the 2018 primary has 13 days, but no Sundays are included. As of April 24, there were 33,006 registered voters in the county.
“It’s been slow, but steady. There have been no lulls,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, about this primary’s early voting period so far.
During the first two days of early voting in the 2014 primary, 460 Beaufort County voters marked ballots — 254 voters the first day, 206 voters the second day. At the end of the nine-day early voting period for the 2014 primary, 6,841 voters had marked ballots.
In the may 2014 primary, 9,057 voters marked ballots, representing 27.87 percent of the county’s 32,503 registered voters.
Trey Branch, a 17-year-old student at Southside High School, voted for the first time Friday. A 17-year-old may vote in a primary if that person turns 18 before the general election, according to state law.
His first time voting caused minor excitement at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office. Branch’s mother, Anita Bullock Branch, is the county’s deputy director of elections. Other long-time Board of Elections officials who watched Branch grow up were elated when he marked his first ballot.
“It was kind of hectic when I got here because everybody is standing outside and they want to get your vote, for you to vote for them,” Branch said of his first time voting. “It’s different now because you don’t really see it this way until you’re doing it.”
Early voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 5 at the Beaufort County Board of Elections office, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington. Early voting is set for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 5 at satellite sites in Aurora, Belhaven and Chocowinity.
The Aurora site is at the Aurora Community Building, 442 Third St. The Belhaven site is at the John A. Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St. The Chocowinity site is at the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department, 512 N.C. Highway 33 East.